Google made big news earlier this year when it declared it would favor sites that switch to HTTPS, and now Twitter is taking a similar path. A member of Twitter’s development team published a thread on the Twitter Community forum explaining the company’s future plans for HTTPS and setting a deadline for the company’s switch the HTTPS.
Starting October 1st, Twitter will begin utilizing HTTPS for all new outbound links, meaning any new link you share will be packed in “https://t.co”. This way Twitter can securely send users to their intended destination, even when the destination page is not an HTTPS link.
Similar changes have been made by popular sites such as Reddit and Wikipedia, however in those situations the sites began using HTTPS site-wide.
This will also have the added side effect of increasing URL lengths in the future, depriving you of one more character to write with when sharing a link.
This also causes issues with tracking referral traffic to non-HTTPS sites, as Twitter explains non-HTTPS sites may see an apparent decrease in referral numbers.
“Web browsers drop the Referer header from a request by default when downgrading from an HTTPS t.co link to an HTTP destination in compliance with the HTTP specification for the Referer header… Based on our estimates you may see a 10% drop in traffic attribution from Twitter as a result of this security change.”
The company also warns that sites will see a steady decrease in referral traffic recorded from Twitter in the future, as users update to the latest browsers that support this policy.